Manchester City travel to Upton Park on Saturday for a teatime showdown with West Ham United.
The Hammers took three points from their visit to the Etihad earlier in the season but have won just three of their last 12 Premier league games, a run that has seen their early-season momentum slowed somewhat. A win for Slaven Bilic's side would see them complete a league double over City for the first time since the 1962-63 season.
They’re unbeaten in eight on home soil and sit sixth in the table.
City’s away form has been poor, but their last Premier League game on the road saw them end a six-match winless run with a 2-1 victory over Watford.
Manuel Pellegrini knows his side need to start showing some consistency or face another season without silverware.
West Ham won the corresponding fixture last season 2-1. Diafro Sakho and Morgan Amalfitano put the home side 2-1 up before a wonderful second-half strike by David Silva gave City some hope.
Date: Saturday, January 23
Kick-off: 5:30 p.m. GMT/12:30 p.m. ET
TV Listings: Sky Sports 1/HD (UK) & NBC (US)
West Ham United
Newcastle United 2-1 West Ham United
Bournemouth 1-3 West Ham United
West Ham United 1-0 Wolves (FA Cup)
West Ham United 2-0 Liverpool
West Ham United 2-1 Southampton
Manchester City 4-0 Crystal Palace
Everton 0-0 Manchester City
Norwich City 0-3 Manchester City (FA Cup)
Everton 2-1 Manchester City (League Cup)
Watford 1-2 Manchester City
West Ham United
James Tomkins is a doubt. Diafra Sakho, Andy Carroll and Manuel Lanzini are all definitely unavailable, but Joey O'Brien is back in contention.
West Ham United (from): Adrian, Randolph, Spiegel, Collins, Cresswell, Byram, Demel, Henry, Jenkinson, O'Brien, Ogbonna, Oxford, Reid, Tomkins, Antonio, Cullen, Kouyate, Moses, Noble, Obiang, Payet, Song, Jelavic, Valencia, Zarate.
Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Adrian; Tomkins, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Obiang, Noble; Antonio, Payet, Valencia; Jelavic
Vincent Kompany, Aleksandar Kolarov, Wilfried Bony and Samir Nasri are all out, but Fernandinho is back fit.
Manchester City (from): Caballero, Hart, Wright, Clichy, Demichelis, Kolarov, Kompany, Mangala, Otamendi, Sagna, Zabaleta, De Bruyne, Delph, Fernandinho, Fernando, Navas, Roberts, Silva, Toure, Zuculini, Aguero, Bony, Iheanacho, Sterling.
Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Hart; Sagna, Otamendi, Demichelis, Clichy; Fernandinho, Toure; De Bruyne, Silva, Sterling; Aguero
Players to Watch
West Ham United: Dimitri Payet
But for an injury that kept him out for two months, Dimitri Payet would be being spoken about as one of the season’s star performers.
West Ham deserve huge credit for signing him. This is a player who could comfortably play in a Champions League side, so impressive is his natural ability. He possesses skill, vision and the audaciousness to try something innovative and offers enjoyment to those who watch him.
He’s by far West Ham’s most creative player, has six goals in 18 appearances across all competitions and has dazzled throughout the season.
Manchester City: Sergio Aguero
The most potent striker in Premier League history is returning to his premium level.
Sergio Aguero has had his injury problems this season, but he’s now fully fit and looking close to his best.
Given his struggles with injury, his scoring record remains impressive. He has 10 league goals from just 14 starts, with an average of a goal every 71 minutes.
For many, keeping Aguero fit is the key to City’s title chances. The Aguero-David Silva axis remains the most creative, powerful attacking pair in the league.
He has scored four goals and assisted two in seven league outings against West Ham.
Pedro Obiang vs. David Silva
Much like Payet is the hub of West Ham's creativity, David Silva is at the heart of City's forward play.
It is the Spanish international who controls the tempo of City's game.
He's been hitting top speed in the last couple of weeks after a difficult return from injury, and the City players know if they give him the ball, something will happen.
Pedro Obiang will be charged with stopping him on Saturday. It's arguably the most important job in the West Ham team for this game.
Odds (via Odds Shark)
West Ham United: +447
Manchester City: -161
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2015/16 season. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow him on Twitter @RobPollard_.
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